How Developers Think of Themes

If someone gripping the lever of a Liberty Bell slot machine in a saloon in the early 20th Century suddenly warped through time and ended up in 2019, they wouldn’t have a clue how to play the slots they were faced with. They may not even recognize the games of today as slots. The titles available online are so evolved now, it’s like putting modern man next to Neanderthals. With the advancement of slots, developers have had to get highly innovative. This has especially become apparent with the themes used to attract players. But how do the game creators come up with their ideas for design?

The earliest slot games to flood the market were simplistic creations. They had three reels, one win line in the centre, and various fruit symbols. Players pulled the lever and would win money if three matching symbols appearing on the win line. As technology progressed more rapidly in the late 1980s and 1990s, developers quickly realized that the market was hungry for varied gameplay and would quickly get bored with playing the same game over and over again.

Electric slot machines began to feature a number of different symbols, themes, and side games, but it was when they moved to online casinos that they underwent the most changes. In order to attract as many players as possible, the themes have become exceptionally diverse. For instance, developers draw a lot from history. Ancient Egypt has been a source of inspiration for many titles. Looking at one of the most popular slots around at the moment, Book of the Dead, it’s easy to see how far the games have come. It uses Ancient Egyptian graphics, music, and symbols, and sites are offering free spins on the game due to its popularity.



One of the most successful methods of coming up with themes is to look at what is popular in the mainstream and make games based on it. Game of Thrones was one of the most popular television series of all time, attracting 13.6 million viewers for the series finale. Viewers wanted more Westeros action when they weren’t watching, which is why Microgaming came up with the Game of Thrones slot. This sparked other television-based slots such as Vikings and Narcos. Just seeing the logos can attract fans of the TV series, and these games have become big pulling points for online casinos.

Of course, some developers still choose to go with retro themes. There are titles like Retro Reels and Starburst which pay tribute to the earliest versions of the gambling games. These serve to attract casino purists, along with people who just like to get a taste of nostalgia. The reels feature fruit and other simple symbols, and the gameplay is easy to follow.

Developers draw on popular films, TV series, history, sport, and music to think of ideas for their slot games. And as the mechanics become more advanced, companies like Microgaming and NetEnt are going to have to become even more innovative to keep attracting players.

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Founder, CEO at Addicted
Mark Munroe is the Creator and EIC of ADDICTED. He's ADDICTED to great travel, amazing food, better grooming & probably a whole lot more!